Big 12: Rod Perry

The best and worst of the Big 12 in the Super Bowl

January, 30, 2009
1/30/09
5:37
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It's been fun to look back at the history of the Super Bowl over the last week, looking at the Big 12's association with the biggest game in football.

But upon closer inspection, the Big 12 has had players with great and infamous performances in the 43-game history of the Super Bowl. Here are some of the most notable and forgetable.

1. Mike Jones, St. Louis linebacker (Missouri) -- His stop of Tennessee's Kevin Dyson only inches short of the goal line on the game's final play preserved the Rams' 23-16 triumph over the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. It is one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history.

2. Timmy Smith, Washington Redskins running back (Texas Tech) -- Erupted for a Super Bowl record 204 rushing yards on 22 carries, including runs of 58 and 43 yards, to key the Redskins' 42-10 victory over Denver in Super Bowl XXII.

3. John Riggins, Washington running back (Kansas) -- Rushed for 166 yards on a Super Bowl-record 38 carries to power the Redskins to a 27-17 victory over Miami in Super Bowl XVII. Riggins gave the Redskins the lead for good on a 43-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 blast early in the fourth quarter, wrapping up an MVP performance that remains the only one earned by a former Big 12 player.

4. Roger Craig, San Francisco running back (Nebraska) -- Craig was a member of three Super Bowl championship teams with the 49ers and had several strong performances. But his biggest was a three-touchdown effort against Miami in Super Bowl XIX. Craig ran for 58 yards and a touchdown and also snagged a team-high seven receptions for 77 yards and two scores to pace the 49ers to a 38-16 victory.

5. Wes Welker, New England wide receiver (Texas Tech) -- Welker's team dropped a disappointing 17-14 game to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, but it wasn't his fault. Welker matched the Super Bowl record with 11 receptions for 103 yards, but it wasn't enough to lead his team to victory.

Most infamous moments/performances for a Big 12 player in Super Bowl history:

1. Buffalo running back Thurman Thomas (Oklahoma State) loses his helmet -- The College and Pro Football Hall of Famer had one of the most notorious moments of his career when he lost his helmet at the start of Super Bowl XXVI against Washington. Typically, Thomas placed his helmet at the 40-yard-line before a game, but it was moved in order for a stage to be set up for Harry Connick Jr.'s rendition of the national anthem. Thomas entered the game after missing Buffalo's first two plays from scrimmage. It was the start of a miserable performance where he rushed for only 13 yards on 10 carries in a 37-24 loss to the Redskins.

2. Boyd Dowler's (Colorado) injury makes Max McGee's career -- We never would have heard about McGee's pre-game carousing before Super Bowl I if Dowler hadn't separated his shoulder early and left the game. McGee grabbed seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Packers to a 35-10 victory over Kansas City. Dowler didn't have a catch in the game.

3. Jack Pardee's (Texas A&M) long ride on Larry Csonka's back -- The veteran Washington linebacker was carried for nearly 30 yards by Miami fullback Larry Csonka on a 49-yard run in Super Bowl VI. The play has been replayed in countless NFL Films showings over the years in the final game of the 15-year career of Pardee. Even worse for Pardee, his team lost, 14-7.

4. Donny Anderson (Texas Tech) levels the "The Hammer" -- Before the game, Kansas City defensive back Fred "The Hammer" Williamson vowed that he would knock out a Green Bay player from Super Bowl I with "his hammer," a well-placed forearm shiver. Instead, Green Bay running back Donny Anderson, a former Texas Tech player, caused a concussion for Williamson when his knee collided with Williamson's head early in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl I. Williamson also suffered a broken arm on the play when his teammate, linebacker Sherrill Headrick, fell on top of him.

5. The Los Angeles Rams' secondary collective bad day in Super Bowl XIV -- The starting secondary for the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV was composed entirely of alumni of Big 12 schools -- CB Pat Thomas (Texas A&M), CB Rod Perry (Colorado), S Nolan Cromwell (Kansas) and S Dave Elmendorf (Texas A&M). Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw riddled the group for 309 passing yards and two touchdowns en route to a MVP-winning performance in a 31-19 victory for the Steelers.

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